Dufresne

Factors influencing happiness

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I have also heard of people telling their subconscious to show them some issue in the form of a dream right before they go to sleep. I've only tried that a couple times, and it worked at least once. So, in brief, it is capitalizing on the fact that the subconscious can process a lot of information behind the scenes while one is focusing on other things or even asleep.

How do you directly "tell" your subconscious to do something? I wouldn't know how to make it show me something in a dream, although I have awakened in the middle of the night with something coming to me, not just in problem solving but also remembering things from the distant past I had been thinking of and trying to remember or unrepress. I don't know if it involved a dream before waking up, or course if I dreamed things without remembering the dream.

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How do you directly "tell" your subconscious to do something? I wouldn't know how to make it show me something in a dream, although I have awakened in the middle of the night with something coming to me, not just in problem solving but also remembering things from the distant past I had been thinking of and trying to remember or unrepress. I don't know if it involved a dream before waking up, or course if I dreamed things without remembering the dream.

I'll give some examples from my own life or that I have heard others use. I'm not sure how generalizeable they are, though.

As a simple example, sometimes when I'm hungry but not sure what I want to eat, I will basically directly ask my subconscious to bring up images and related sensations associated with different kinds of foods. By "directly ask" I mean that I consciously send an order to my subconscious for these images and sensations. The order, while conscious, may also be limited in words. What goes through my mind may simply be the order, "give me food," and my subconscious knows what to do and does it.

A somewhat more complex command is Dr. Binswanger's "standing orders." I see it as more complex because it is a command that primes your subconscious to take special notice of something in the future. I think he gives the personal example of being on alert for collectivistic terms, such as "The Poor" or "The Elderly" or "The Homeless." It is a way of keeping your subconscious primed across different situations and over time to "pick up" on something in one's environment, which isn't always easy.

An example that may be even more complex is mentally projecting yourself into a future situation to gain a sense of what it will be like. For instance, I have traveled to quite a few different places for job interviews over the years. At each place, I try to take in as much information as I can about the building, people, surrounding area, and so on. After the fact (but sometimes during the visit), I will tell my subconscious to recreate that place, with those people, and "show me what life will be like here." Again, I might not actually say all those words, because it is not necessary. What happens is that I basically create an internal movie and watch myself interact with all those things and people. I imagine everything from how it will look in different seasons, to the shifting of light in a room across the day, to myself actually sitting in a particular office doing work, and having conversations with specific people. I imagine driving around the town, the kind of place I might live, where, and so on.

It is amazing how much your subconscious will give you if you order and allow it to. And this last part may be the most interesting: although you are giving it a command or an order, once the order is given it is actually necessary to loosen the reins. By that I mean you almost have to freely associate or just mentally step back and let the material flow from the subconscious into consciousness. One can certainly seize on some piece of material and then given another order to follow it down its own path. But again you will have to loosen the reins to see where that path will take you. So, there is a back and forth, a command and then a release, and maybe this will happen mulitple times.

In any event, this is how I see telling your subconscious to do different things. Whether or not these particular things work for everyone, I'm not sure.

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How do you directly "tell" your subconscious to do something? I wouldn't know how to make it show me something in a dream, although I have awakened in the middle of the night with something coming to me, not just in problem solving but also remembering things from the distant past I had been thinking of and trying to remember or unrepress. I don't know if it involved a dream before waking up, or course if I dreamed things without remembering the dream.

...I will basically directly ask my subconscious to bring up images and related sensations associated with different kinds of foods. By "directly ask" I mean that I consciously send an order to my subconscious for these images and sensations. The order, while conscious, may also be limited in words. What goes through my mind may simply be the order, "give me food," and my subconscious knows what to do and does it.

...I will tell my subconscious to recreate that place, with those people, and "show me what life will be like here." Again, I might not actually say all those words, because it is not necessary. What happens is that I basically create an internal movie and watch myself interact with all those things and people. ..

It is amazing how much your subconscious will give you if you order and allow it to. And this last part may be the most interesting: although you are giving it a command or an order, once the order is given it is actually necessary to loosen the reins. By that I mean you almost have to freely associate or just mentally step back and let the material flow from the subconscious into consciousness...

But what is the exact form of the "telling" or the "order"?

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But what is the exact form of the "telling" or the "order"?

For me, it's a conscious use of words, such as "give me" or "show me" something. It can be more implicit, without words, and I think I recall Dr. Binswanger giving an example of picking out clothes to wear in one of his psycho-epistemology lectures. That is, as you are picking out clothes, you may not be saying the words "what would I like to wear?" or "show me what would be a good outfit today." Instead, the order is implicit but conscious and you simply run through your options (and maybe have an image in mind of yourself in certain clothes) as you look through your wardrobe.

The analogy may break down, but it's kind of like doing a google search. You give a command through a few key words and see what pops up. You may then follow relevant associations (or links in the case of google) and see where those go. Hopefully you get to the most important, relevant, and/or significant material. If not, you may have to change or refine the command using different key words.

Does this make sense?

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I listened to Dr. Binswanger's lectures on this as well, and I thought the web search analogy was very good in one sense. However I think what was more helpful in the beginning was his analogy to a filing system. As you form concepts, you "file" them in your subconscious by their genus and differentia. Your filing is determined by your psycho-epistemology, and the more reality-focussed you are the more objectively accurate your filing will be.

What happens when you "order" your subconscious to give you information is you pull up a file. For example, if I want to decide what to eat, I can think "food" and automatically different foods start occurring to me. I can think, "grocery store" and the selections will be refined to what is available at my local store. However if I add "job" to the query, I think of the time I spent working at an in-store deli. So in that sense, it absolutely is like a Google search. What your subconscious gives you is whatever is "linked" to your search terms.

The genus/differentia is how concepts are associated with each other in your subconscious, because there is a hierarchy to knowledge. So, if I think "Ayn Rand", I might think "philosopher", "writer" as the genus, and I might also think of some of her ideas or things about her life I admire as differentia. This all happens instantly when I think her name, I'm flooded with facts about her I've learned.

So the facts that your subconscious supplies you with depend on how they were originally filed. If they were filed incorrectly (misintegrated), the search will give you inappropriate and unhelpful information. If you filed them correctly, you can access everything faster and with less effort. That's why developing a good psycho-epistemology is so important, because by integrating ideas properly that assures you will be able to "access" them when you need them.

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The human mind can automatically integrate mental content. It automatically integrates sensations into perceptions. It can automatically integrate perceptions with existing concepts (i.e. recognizing instances of existing concepts). It can automatically integrate observations into generalizations (i.e. inductive reasoning). It can automatically integrate observations with existing generalizations (i.e. deductive reasoning).
The brain certainly integrates sensations into perceptions automatically, but does the mind actually do all the other kinds of integrations you list automatically? I don't mean to suggest that there isn't some type of processing, maybe even automatic processing, that occurs subconsciously. But I'm wondering how generalization and reasoning can happen automatically.
I recently read two newspaper articles and did something else (I don't remember what) between reading the two articles. I estimate that I started reading the second article a couple of minutes after finishing the first article. I merely skimmed through both articles. I believe it was shortly after finishing the second article or maybe even before when my mind created a connection between the two articles. At this point I did not know what exactly the similarity was. I just "saw" some similarity. I chose to identify the similarity (the common denominator) but I could have chosen not to identify it.

I also made the following experiment: I went to my kitchen and tried to find out whether or not my mind could automatically integrate my visual perceptions of the things in my kitchen with my concepts of those things. You can try that out yourself. Just quickly look at a number of things and try to invent a story around those things. I'm not aware of giving my subconscious mind an order to recognize instances of concepts. I just look at a thing and the word associated with the concept automatically pops up. I did not notice any conscious processing going on.

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So the facts that your subconscious supplies you with depend on how they were originally filed. If they were filed incorrectly (misintegrated), the search will give you inappropriate and unhelpful information. If you filed them correctly, you can access everything faster and with less effort. That's why developing a good psycho-epistemology is so important, because by integrating ideas properly that assures you will be able to "access" them when you need them.

Yes, I strongly agree. Dr. Binswanger's lectures really are excellent and I strongly recommend them to everyone.

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I recently read two newspaper articles and did something else (I don't remember what) between reading the two articles. I estimate that I started reading the second article a couple of minutes after finishing the first article. I merely skimmed through both articles. I believe it was shortly after finishing the second article or maybe even before when my mind created a connection between the two articles. At this point I did not know what exactly the similarity was. I just "saw" some similarity. I chose to identify the similarity (the common denominator) but I could have chosen not to identify it.

I can see how reading two different stories can result in an initial and peripheral sense of a connection between things. This is because every conscious experience also involves subconscious activity and a peripheral awareness of things. I think of the peripheral as the mental "place" between the subconscious and conscious, where material is most "at the ready" but not quite in full conscious awareness yet (e.g., a song that is playing very quietly in the background of your conscious awareness).

As one reads something, there will be subconscious processing as well as material that is automatically rising up to that peripheral space of consciousness. When one reads a second thing, there may still be material in peripheral awareness related to the first article, and a type of automatic "cross-referencing" occurs, such that similar material from the second article is, to some extent, associated with the material in peripheral awareness from the first article. However, I'd also guess that at some point in your life, you identified the value of associating concepts or aspects of events and may even have a semi-standing order (which is now automatized) to find such associations. This would greatly facilitate keeping material in peripheral awareness (or even near the top-edge of the subconscious) for the purpose of the cross-referencing with new material.

I also made the following experiment: I went to my kitchen and tried to find out whether or not my mind could automatically integrate my visual perceptions of the things in my kitchen with my concepts of those things. You can try that out yourself. Just quickly look at a number of things and try to invent a story around those things. I'm not aware of giving my subconscious mind an order to recognize instances of concepts. I just look at a thing and the word associated with the concept automatically pops up. I did not notice any conscious processing going on.

But you did give your mind the order to identify the concept that corresponds with some object; that was your consciously created and executed experiment. Also, the concepts for those objects are probably automatized, so you didn't need to put forth much, if any, conscious effort to connect the concepts with the objects. Your conscious processing was the automatic sensory-perceptual experience of your kitchen and its objects coupled with automatized identification of related concepts, as ordered or commanded by a conscious intent (i.e., the experiment).

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